Title Geochemistry
Description Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Designed for junior/senior and graduate physical sciences students. Origin and abundance of elements and their isotopes; distribution and chemistry of elements in Earth and its environment. Concurrently scheduled with course C207. P/NP or letter grading.
Units 4 units
Course Days Tuesday Friday
Time 9:00 AM - 10:50 AM
Location GEOLOGY 4677
Level Undergraduate
Course ID 178342200
Type Lecture
Class Website http://pangea.earthandspace.ucla.edu/essc107/
Instructor John Wasson
Email jtwasson@ucla.edu
Phone 310-825-1986
Office Hours immediately after class and TuTh 1100-1220 and by appointment
Location 4859 Slichter Hall


Discussion sections

Lectures are on Tuesday and Thursday 0900-1050; the second lecture hour on Thursday will be
used for discussions.
Problems sets are due at Wasson's office by 1 pm on Wednesdays. A penalty will be assessed
on late problem sets; this will be 10% for sets handed in after 1 but by 6 or Wednesdays, 20%
for sets handed in by 9 am on the following Monday, and 30% for later handins.
You can slide problem sets under the door (or stop to ask a question or chat).
Final exam is not yet scheduled.


Seven problem sets @ 20 140
Hour exam I 200
Hour exam II 200
Final Exam (2/3 on final1/3 or course, 1/3 on first 2/3) 400
participation assessment 040
Total 980

Lecture notes and handouts

All handouts including the lecture notes will be posted at the web site; the username is
ESSC107; the password will be conveyed in class or by email.

ESS C107/C207 Books on Reserve

Bolded names are used as abbreviations in the Syllabus.
Albarede F. (2009) Geochemistry: An Introduction (2nd Ed.). Cambridge Univ., 341 pp.
Allegre C. J. (2008) Isotope Geology. Cambridge Univ., 495 pp.
Davis A. M. (editor) (2005) Meteorites, Comets and Planets (Volume 1, Treatise on
Geochemistry) Elsevier, 737 pp.
Grotzinger J, Jordan T. H., Press F. and Siever R. (2007) Understanding Earth (5th Ed.).
Freeman. 579 pp + appendices.
Killops S. D. and Killops V. (2005) Organic Geochemistry, Introduction to (2nd Ed.) Macmillan,
393 pp.
McSween H. Y., Richardson S. M. and Uhle M. E. (2003) Geochemistry: Pathways and
Processes. Columbia Univ., 363 pp.
Rollinson H. (2007) Early Earth Systems: A Geochemical Approach. Blackwell, 285 pp.
White W. H. (1997-2009) Geochemistry. Textbook is available online. Password protected copy
in ESS 107 website. Book has 701 pp. plus Appendices. One loose-leaf printout is on reserve.
Walther J. V. (2009) Essentials of Geochemistry (2nd. ed). Jones and Bartlett, 797 pp.
Wasson J. T. (1985) Meteorites: Their Record of Early Solar System History. Freeman, 267 pp.

Lecture and Exam Schedule, Winter 2011

Lecture and Exam Schedule, Winter 2011
The 7 problem sets (PS) will be due on Fri. at 1300 at Wasson's office, Slichter 4859.

wk date topic 1 ps topic 2
01 Th 22 Sep divisions of the Earth 01
periodic table and geochemistry 02
02 Tu 27 Sep thermodynamics, equilibrium 03 1 discussion
02 Th 29 Sep broad brush geochemistry 04
nuclear chemistry 05
02 Tu 04 Oct formation of the elements in stars 06 2 discussion
02 Th 06 Oct radioisotopes, geochronology I 07
short-lived nuclides; rock dating 08
04 Tu 11 Oct stable isotope systems 09 3 discussion
04 Th 13 Oct meteorites 10
05 Tu 18 Oct Hour exam
05 Th 20 Oct the planetary system 11
heat sources; core, mantle and crust
06 Tu 25 Oct plate tectonics, etc. 13 4 discussion
06 Th 27 Oct igneous rocks 14
sedimentary metamorphic rocks 15
07 Tu 01 Nov oceanic and continental crust 16 5 discussion
07 Th 03 Nov stable isotopes as tracers 17
Eh-pH diagrams 18
08 Tu 08 Nov ores, ore-forming processes 19 6 discussion
08 Th 10 Nov organic geochemistry 20
formation of fossil fuels 21
09 Tu 15 Nov Hour exam
09 Th 17 Nov formation, evol. of the ocean 22
formation, evol. of atmosphere 23
10 Tu 22 Nov tracers of past climates 24 7 discussion
10 Th 24 Nov Thanksgiving
11 Tu 29 Nov climate, ice ages, global warming 25
impacts and extinction events 26
11 Th 01 Dec catchup

Final Exam date in Dec 2011 not yet available

ESS 107C/207C Geochemistry Syllabus

Lecture 01 Introduction to geochemistry
The main divisions of the Earth. main minerals in the divisions of the Earth; solid solutions; the higher
abundances of even-Z elements. Grotzinger 1-11; Wikipedia Isotope.
Lecture 02 The periodic table and geochemistry
Chemical bonding in natural inorganic phases; ionic and covalent bonding; ionization potentials and
electron affinities; ionic sizes and charges. Albarede 7-18; White 1.1-1.4.
Lecture 03 Thermodynamics and phase formation in rock systems
First and second laws of thermodynamics; Gibbs free energy and chemical equilibria; standard states of
matter; ideal and nonideal systems; activity coefficients; oxygen fugacity. White 2.9.
Lecture 04 Broad brush geochemistry: lithophile, siderophile and chalcophile elements
The role of redox potentials, melt composition, and metal affinities for O versus S in trace element
partitioning. Albarede 19-20; White 7.1-7.2.
Lecture 05 Nuclear chemistry
Isotopes and nuclides; nuclear processes; radioactive decay; binding energy and nuclear stability.
Albarede 20-22; White 8.1-8.2; White, 10.1-10.2.
Lecture 06 Formation of the elements in stars
Star formation; the role of size. Nuclear processes in stars; element burning and element synthesis; H
burning, He burning, C burning, the equilibrium process; neutron capture on slow (S) and rapid (R)
timescales. White 10.1-10.2; Truran and Heger (Davis chap. 1.01).
Lecture 07 Radioisotopes and geochronology
Radioactive decay processes; dating young and old rocks; rates and ages; cosmic-ray produced
nuclides and crustal processes; internal isochrons; resetting of isotopic clocks by thermal metamorphism.
Albarede 71-90; White 8.3-8.4.
Lecture 08 Dating terrestrial rocks
Short-lived radionuclides and the earliest history of planets and asteroids ;the oldest terrestrial rocks;
rates and ages; internal isochrons; resetting of isotopic clocks by thermal metamorphism; the importance
of zircons. Albarede 47-64; White 8.3-8.5.
Lecture 09 Stable isotope systems: fractionation processes
Fractionation of H and O isotopes during H2O evaporation, precipitation; temperatures from isotopic compositions;
non-mass dependent O-isotopic fractionations in meteorites. Albarede 56-68; White 9.1-9.2.
Lecture 10 Meteorites
Classification of meteorites; primitive and differentiated meteorites; chondrites and chondrules; chondritic
chemical compositions. Enstatite, ordinary and carbonaceous chondrites. clusters in cosmic-ray and
outgassing ages and the number of chondrite parent asteroids; asteroidal reflection spectra and asteroidmeteorite
relationships. .; Wasson chap. II; Krot et al. (Davis chap. 1.05).
Lecture 11 The planetary system; the terrestrial planets and the asteroids
The eight planets of the solar system; differences between the giant planets and the terrestrial planets;
asteroids and comets; hierarchical planetary growth; chemical and O-isotopic compositions of the
chondrites; fractionations in refractory lithophile elements; metal-silicate fractionations; volatile-element
fractionations; relationships between chondrite classes and the terrestrial planets. White 10.3; Wasson
chaps. VIII and IX.
Lecture 12 Terrestrial heat sources: core, mantle and crust
The main divisions of the Earth. heating of the early Earth by accretion and by radioactive decay;
buoyancy separation of liquids from solids and of immiscible liquids. Grotzinger 1-16.
Lecture 13 Plate tectonics and large-scale thermal processes
Sea-floor spreading, subduction of oceanic plates; collisions of continental plates; volcanism. Grotzinger
18-43; White 1.5
Lecture 14 Igneous rocks
The main types of sedimentary rocks; basalts and granites; compositions, phase diagrams, liquidus and
solidus phases; melt viscosities. Grotzinger 62-98; Wikipedia magma.
Lecture 15 Sedimentary and metamorphic rocks; oceanic and continental crust and lithosphere
Sedimentation locales; thermal metamorphism locales. Partitioning of elements between solids and
melts; how to construct a floating continental crust; fertile and depleted mantle. Grotzinger 101-117, 131-
148; White 7.3-7.4, Chap. 11 474-494.
Lecture 16 The continental crust and incompatible elements
Granites and sedimentary rocks; element partitioning between solids and melts; fractional distillation
(Rayleigh distillation); fractional crystallization; iron meteorites; layered intrusions. White 7.6-7.7;
Albarede 31-35; Wasson 80-84.
Lecture 17 Stable isotopes as tracers of geological processes
Radiogenic isotopes as tracers of geological processes; special importance of 87Sr/86Sr and 143Nd/144Nd
ratios. Paleoclimate and ecology from O and C isotopes. S geochemistry, S isotopes and ores. Albarede
90-93, White 8.4.
Lecture 18 Eh-pH diagrams; light element fractionations in crustal processes -
Simultaneous consideration of electrochemistry and pH in the discussion of low-temperature aqueous
geochemical processes. White 13, 555-560; Wikipedia, Pourbaix diagrams; lecture notes..
Lecture 19 Ores, ore-forming processes and the environment -
Ores and economics; element transport; aqueous circulation and ore formation; role of hydrothermal
fluids; some California ore deposits. . Wikipedia ore genesis; Grotzinger 69-73.
Lecture 20 Organic geochemistry
Photosynthesis, O and C; biological productivity, burial and preservation; fossil fuels; photosynthetic
pathways and C isotopes. Grotzinger 241-268; White 626-640.
Lecture 21 Formation of coals, petroleum and natural gas
Rapid burial of plants; evolution of coals during crustal heating processes; rapid burial of marine biota
and cooking within the crust; subsurface migration of liquid petroleum; relationship between petroleum
and natural gas. Grotzinger 241-268; White 626-640.
Lecture 22 Formation and evolution of the ocean
Cosmic source of terrestrial water; water oxidation of Fe and Fe++; ocean anoxic events; role of
subducted water in igneous processes the crust and upper mantle; water, melt temperatures and
viscosity. Albarede 156-163; White 555-563.
Lecture 23 Formation and early evolution of the atmosphere
Earliest atmosphere of the Earth; evolution of the atmosphere; oxygen, carbon and life; ; onset of
photosynthesis; banded iron formations; isotopic anomalies in S and O. Rollinson 175-176, 180-187,
Lecture 24 Geochemical and geological tracers of past climates
Sea level changes; geological evidence of glaciations; evidence for and against the "icehouse
Earth" hypothesis; Grotzinger 347-367.
Lecture 25 Climate, ice ages and global warming
The ocean-atmosphere system and climate; climate systems; feedback processes; orbital changes and
glaciations; greenhouse gases and global warming. sequestering CO2; icehouse Earth; Walther, 645-
657; Grotzinger 347-367.
Lecture 26 Impacts and extinction events
Highly siderophile elements as tracers of global-scale impact events. Cosmogenic isotopes as soil
tracers; impact events with and without craters. Wasson (2003) Astrobiology 3, 163.